PESHAWAR (AFP) - Troops backed by helicopter gunships killed 60 Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants near the Afghan border, just days after the Marriott Hotel was bombed, officials said Tuesday. A soldier was also killed in two days of fierce clashes with fighters near Peshawar and separately in the volatile tribal frontier region of Bajaur, they said. In the biggest battle, troops on Monday launched a "search and cordon" operation to clear extremists from a strategic road tunnel and other hideouts in Darra Adam Khel, a restive region just outside Peshawar, the army said. "Helicopter gunships and artillery are pounding the miscreants' hideouts. More than 50 miscreants have been killed so far and one soldier was also martyred," military spokesman Major Murad Khan told AFP. Khan said troops took control on Monday of the Japanese-built Kohat tunnel, a key road leading out of Peshawar that was occupied by hardline forces last month. Soldiers were now carrying out operations in the main bazaar at Darra Adam Khel, which is home to country's biggest private weapons market, he said. Peshawar itself remains on high alert after gunmen kidnapped Afghanistan's incoming ambassador and shot dead his driver on Monday. Security forces are still searching for envoy Abdul Khaliq Farahi, officials said. Separately troops killed six militants in a mortar attack on a militant vehicle, and another four in a gun battle in Bajaur on Monday, in both cases after rebels tried to attack security checkposts, officials said. Forces launched a huge operation in Bajaur last month which officials say has left more than 800 people, mostly militants, dead. Nearly 300,000 residents have been displaced by the fighting. Analysts say the Marriott attack in Islamabad was likely in revenge for the offensive in Bajaur - which is believed to be the hideout of Osama bin Laden's Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. Officials say an Al-Qaeda cell based in Islamabad is believed to be behind the hotel blast, in which a suicide bomber rammed a truck into the outer gates of the Marriott. The attack has increased pressure on Islamabad to crack down on Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in tribal regions who are also accused of launching attacks on US and NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan.